The Vapor was well received by the test team; it jumped well, was powerful, fast and the construction was solid. Good bet if you want an all-round kite with familiar C kite handling, loads of depower, prettygood lift and good relaunch. The more time you spend tuning the fifth line, the more this kite will do.
Airush have released what they call a flat 5 kite, and it's billed as the kite you've been waiting for. The Vapor focuses on combining the steering characteristics of a high-performance C kite with a new level of extended wind-range and depower traditionally only found in bridled kites. Unlike typical fifth-line kites, the Vapor has a fifth-line fixed stopper that keeps the fifth line exactly the same length as your front lines, enabling you to adjust and recleat your fifth line every time the wind changes. It also maintains the correct amount of tension on the leading edge, stabilising the leading edge curve, and so eliminating the steering lag or tangles that are caused by bridles. The Vapor is excellent for all levels of riding, from dedicated wave riding to freestyle, and is perfect for hooked-in or unhooked riding alike.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
CHRIS: It looks really high- spect when you first get it up. It's a hybrid but it's got the look of a C kite and no bridle. It's up to date: swept-back wing-tips, one pump but you can still click the battens off and roll it up with the struts inflated.
GEORGE: We shortened the back lines a touch out of the bag, but it's rare that we don't have to fiddle with lines. It had some very good left and right tabs on the lines and pig tails so you know exactly where the lines are going - a great little feature.
CHRIS: The fifth line seems very tunable. It was too taut to start with, flattened off the leading edge and seemed to create a lot of power, so I loosened it off and it was great. So light on the steering, less powerful and more C like. There's also no swivel in the front lines, so once you've done a few rotations and the lines get twisted they apply tension to the fifth line, so just make sure when you're setting-up you make the fifth line a bit longer by default and you'll have no problems. Above the bar there's a great stopper system that slides under pressure and I really liked that, it worked well.
CHRIS: Total depower was quite far away but you can depower the kite on the chicken-loop, too.
GEORGE: A lot of brands have gone this way, but I find these under-the-bar depower systems more difficult to use than if they are in front of you above the bar where you can get good leverage. Underthe- bar systems do mean that designers can de-clutter the area above the bar and build-in that double chicken-loop line, so it's strong, very rangey and you can then have that great sliding stopper.
CHRIS: The bar is grippy but comfortable. Bigger than you'd expect for a kite of that size. It takes a bit of leverage to turn a higher-aspect kite, but it certainly isn't heavy steering at all; it's very direct and light. The trigger release on the chickenloop is good but you might have issues accidentally deploying it when you're unhooked and pulling down on the chicken-loop to hook back in. Good-sized chicken-loop and the overall construction and quality is definitely up there.
CHRIS: Lots of range and lots of depower on the bar. I enjoyed jumping on it. It doesn't float like the bows, it feels more of a powered trick kite but it's got plenty of boost. I didn't have any issues relaunching it and I dropped it a few times.
GEORGE: Where the flying line joins the chicken-loop line there's a lump that can catch slightly when you're relaunching. It's just something to be aware of. It has loads of poke through the turns. C-like loops - it's a hauler and moves well. Goes upwind really well but I wouldn't say it's a first kite and it's not an out-and-out wave kite either, but you can definitely use it in waves. Can't fault it for freestyle.
CHRIS: Unhooked it is solid. Good constant pull and no nasty surprises. There's none of that constant trimming, just nice solid drive.
5, 7, 10, 12, 14 and 16m
This test is in issue #27